EXCLUSIVE… UPDATED WITH MORE DETAILS: Tom Sherak now will go down in Oscars history as giving new definition to the word chutzpah. The outgoing president of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences tried to pull a fast one on the incoming president Hawk Koch who was just voted in Tuesday night. Choosing the producer and host of the Oscars is probably the most important job of the AMPAS president. Yet Sherak, despite knowing he himself was a lame duck, nevertheless broke protocol and tried to hire the 85th Academy Awards hosts for the February 24th, 2013, telecast which should be Koch’s responsibility. Sherak solicited TV and film producer Lorne Michaels and NBC Late Night host Jimmy Fallon. The choices were understandable because Fallon had done a good job hosting the Emmys in 2010, while Michaels is the longtime executive producer of Saturday Night Live. On the other hand, the recent trend has been away from a TV host like Fallon and instead towards bonafide movie stars. Deadline learned that Sherak went to the Academy’s Board Of Governors on his own initiative and said, “If I can find a producer, would you be interested?” The Board said yes.
But insiders tell me they felt Sherak’s request was blatantly inappropriate. Hawk Koch, who still didn’t know if he’d be voted in as AMPAS president, was 1st VP and openly expressed reservations. Koch told colleagues Sherak shouldn’t be doing this with a mere matter of weeks before the elections and complained to Sherak about it. The two men agreed with the Academy’s COO Ric Robertson to set a deadline for locking in a producer on the Wednesday before the AMPAS president and officers elections the very next Tuesday.
Immediately, Disney/ABC which airs the Oscars objected to Sherak’s choices because Fallon competes with Jimmy Kimmel’s show and is the soon-to-be-successor to Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show. “When the idea came up of Fallon, we made it clear that we were not happy about that. It was ridiculous to think we would want to give him that big platform,” a Disney insider tells me. “We had no objection to Lorne.” Technically, Disney/ABC can’t tell the Academy what to do since AMPAS controls the Oscars telecast. But the objection was an obstacle to Sherak’s plans, and “he never got the deal done”, one of my sources says. Sherak’s search was called off within 6 days of the new AMPAS president’s election when he couldn’t meet the deadline. “Now the negotiations are dead,” I’m told. An Academy spokeswoman also is confirming that neither Fallon nor Michaels has been hired.